SEA Currents: s262
The Importance of Getting Lost
Here in Leigh it feels like we’re at a soul-searching meditative retreat. We wake up to birds singing their happy songs and sunshine reflecting off of the beautiful blue ocean. Platters of fruit sprawl in front of us and the chef prepares us fibrous meals full of kale and other green vegetables. I find myself smiling when I think of the contrast between this place and the ship we had called home for the last six weeks.
Springtime in New Zealand
We’ve been off the boat for a few days now, and our newfound freedom is getting less disorienting and more enjoyable. It’s been a good mix of working hard to finish up projects and taking time to explore the beautiful scenery of Leigh. Although my mind thinks it’s autumn, and I have an inexplicable craving for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, the itchiness of my nose, eyes, and throat confirm that it is in fact springtime here in the Southern Hemisphere. There are several ways to enjoy this season, and here I provide a brief travel guide in case you should ever find yourself at the Leigh Marine Lab without any automotive transport.
Secluded on a beautiful coastal waterfront campus only feet from the beach. Overlooking the pristine crystal clear water and untouched lush scenery of the islands around us. Being fed three gourmet meals and two delicious snacks with unlimited complimentary lattes to go with it. And limitless fresh fruit! Something that was scarce and hard to come by on the boat. However, much of our time at Leigh Marine Laboratory has been spent in front of a screen, whether it is skyping our parents or friends, catching up on events that we missed in the last few weeks or synthesizing the information that we collected. Essentially, we are attempting to understand the adventure that everyone, in their own way, values; and I can’t imagine a better place than New Zealand to try and do it.
On the night of the 8th, C watch took the their last watch of the trip. Some say C watch got a little short-changed by having mid-watch because it allowed the shortest amount of sleep. But to be honest I didn’t care about what watch we had, I just wanted the last one to be a good one. The city lights of Auckland kept the night bright and a destination clear insight. It also made the position of lookout very controversial because all I could see in front of me was land and reporting the obvious seemed ineffective. So my eyes began to wander to the sky as I tried to remember ten navigational stars. They also traveled down at the bow into the waves as our ship glided through the glass water.
Transitions from Sea to Land: Reflections from Our Time at Sea
Before our first port stop I had already spent most of my time on the leeward side so I would make donations to Neptune and not to the ship. I was already eagerly waiting for the moment I could finally step on land and stay there.
Land ho! After 6 weeks of sailing out on the open blue, we finally reached Auckland, New Zealand. Reentering into a world that has Internet, phones, tall buildings, too many people, and too much noise—talk about sensory overload! One day on land and I already want to be back on the Bobby C.
Auckland, We’re Almost There.
Well I’ve wanted to go to New Zealand for years now. Big mountains, fast rivers, vast bays, and more sheep than people. We are finally here.
It’s crazy to think that just a few weeks ago we were meeting the Bobby C in Pago Pago. I remember landing in the airport and arriving at an entirely different place from where I had departed. The humid air smacked me in the face, and even though it was late and night and the sun had set, it was so hot.
Last Minute Lessons
Today is our last day of sailing. That sentence has been repeated countless times today, always with disbelief and a little sadness. Our last day at sea, our 41st day on this boat, an end of this chapter. Many of us have been feeling a slight bit of nostalgia, and reflection on all we have learned and how we have grown in these past 41 days. In the spirit of that, I’d like to share the number one thing I’ve learned on this trip: the ocean, and this boat, is constantly moving.
Northern New Zealand Newspaper Details SEA Semester Visit
SEA Semester® in the News:
“Current and stars guide to Opua”
by Lindy Laird, The Northern Advocate | Nov. 7, 2015
A sailing ship has arrived in the Bay of Islands after following the ocean currents and stars that brought Polynesian navigators and European explorers to New Zealand hundreds of years ago.
Twenty three adventurer students aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, a 134-foot steel brigantine owned and operated by the US-based Sea Education Association (SEA) for oceanographic research and sail training, has the latest in space age navigational aids to bring them from Fiji to Opua.
There were two things on my checklist of musts before starting this trip. I wanted to swim from the boat and watch dolphins as they swam along by the bow.
On our very first day at sea everyone was looking out over the big, beautiful ocean we were venturing into and watching the sunset on the horizon. As it was setting, a whale breached directly in front of the boat, prompting cheers, laughs, and cries.
Dear Friends Back Home
Before I left for the South Pacific, I asked you all to write me letters to read for when I would be feeling lonely or having a hard time on the ship. I knew that the large stack of notes that I received would last me through the whole trip, even and especially through the last 11 day trip from Fiji to New Zealand, which I expected to be the most difficult leg.